Archive: April 14, 2015

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Powers of Regulators Brought Into the Spotlight by High Court Decision
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Security of Payment Legislation and Set-Off Under Commonwealth Insolvency Laws

Powers of Regulators Brought Into the Spotlight by High Court Decision

Recently the High Court of Australia handed down its unanimous decision in Australian Communications and Media Authority v Today FM (Sydney) Pty Ltd [2015] HCA 7 (HCA Decision) which relates to the powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (Authority).

The HCA Decision accepts that the Authority was permitted to make a finding of fact that a licensee committed a criminal offence and in doing so had breached a licence condition, despite the fact that no proceedings in relation to the criminal offence had been commenced or successfully prosecuted.

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Security of Payment Legislation and Set-Off Under Commonwealth Insolvency Laws

A recent Victorian Supreme Court case[1] has clarified the impact of Commonwealth insolvency set-off provisions on State-based security of payments legislation.

The case demonstrates that although a principal is generally precluded from relying on a set-off or counterclaim in certain contexts under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Vic) (BCISP Act), this general preclusion does not apply if the claimant is in liquidation, due to the operation of section 553C of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act).

The case also provides useful commentary on what is considered a ‘payment schedule’ for the purposes of the BCISP Act.

If you would like to read more about this case, please click here.

[1] Façade Treatment Engineering Limited v Brookfield Multiplex Construction Pty Ltd [2015] VSC 41.

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